Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home

Garrett N.

Let's Get Surreal

Review by Gary Hill

This isn't a slam-dunk into progressive rock, but it's clearly progressive music. There are parts that are decidedly rock oriented, too. I love the unpredictable nature of the set. At times you'll find yourself in electronic territory not far removed from the Buggles. At other points this wanders near stoner rock with heavy (but still odd) musical elements. Some might have an issue with this because of the production. Other than sound bites only one song here has vocals. There are segments that feel DIY oriented in terms of production. I think it lends to the charm of the set, though. I would recommend this only to those who like adventurous, unpredictable music, but I would recommend it.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Rising up trippy and dramatic, this quickly becomes powerful electronic space music. An ominous laugh emerges before the minute and a half mark. Then a sea of voices emerges as this gets almost claustrophobic. After those drop away the music continues the weirdness as it evolves. A heavy guitar based sound emerges as this approaches the two and a half minute mark, bringing an almost stoner metal element to the mix. From there different space textures take it while the harder edged thing still returns. A different guitar texture threatens to take control. Then this shifts to a more rock based jam that has psychedelia, low-fi and electronics in the mix. It drives onward in that vein with an oddity that is strangely compelling. In some ways this resembles Hawkwind at times. This continues to shift and evolve. It becomes a real powerhouse jam with some melodic textures at one point. Then it shifts to something like weird metal meets electronica.
More pure electronic textures bring this into being. It seems to bring a bit more lighthearted vibe in contrast to the darkness that preceded it. This gets some vocals landing it perhaps in the vein of something like The Buggles, but in a DIY way. There is some noisier, harder rocking stuff further down the road here.
This comes in feeling a bit like a continuation of the previous cut, but it's more of a melodic rocker. There are some pretty cool melodies. We get a clip of a voice later, and I think it's Michael Caine. Some electronic weirdness comes in with that. The cut drives forward with more of a rocking techno edge after that. The keyboards soaring over the top lend some real magic. The voice, or a sea of them, really, returns after the music takes it out.
There is an almost middle-Eastern element to the keyboard textures that lead this track out of the gate. It drives forward in an almost EDM meets space way from there. The electronic space rock rises up and drives this tune. It's another that makes me think of Hawkwind quite a bit. I dig the guitar textures that emerge later. This drops back to just keys with laughter to segue into the next number.
The Eternal Laugh
Continuing sounds started at the end of the last piece, an intricate guitar pattern emerges as this moves forward with a moody sort of prog, space motif. It powers upward from there and starts rocking for a short time. Then it drops to just keys with laughter for a time. There are some intriguing melodies that ensue after the laughter leaves. It shifts toward decidedly heavy and ominous around the two and a half minute mark. As it drops back to mellower electronics again, laughter ensues. That along with some wind carries the piece for quite a while. By around the five and a half minute mark the sounds of crows have joined and more or less replaced the laughter. Then keyboard textures more than notes are heard amidst mostly just the wind. The keyboard elements hold the cut after the wind has gone, bringing a bit more of melodic texture. This continues to build in intensity as it makes its way forward. Around the eight and a half minute mark guitar and other textures bring in more intricate melody. The piece evolves as it works onward from there. The guitar and keyboard textures work together to create some intriguing textures. It eventually works out to something heavier and more distorted. Yet there are some hints of early Pink Floyd at the same time. That part takes it to a keyboard section (with another sound bite) to end this (or more accurately segue it into the next number). At almost 14 and a half minutes of music, this is the epic of the set, and that space really allows for a lot of variety.
Coming in from the previous number, this is anything but quiet. It's distorted, hard-edged and driving. It has plenty of both psychedelia and space rock in the mix. It works forward in a rather straight-line way, but there are still plenty of little twists and turns and variants on the theme. A sound clip of President Bush ends this, or rather links it to the next one.
Bush's voice holds the opening of this with varying layers of clips that are echoey. It is a weird, but cool, found sound kind of creation. In fact, in a very artsy format, that by itself makes up a bit more than the first three minutes of this. From there we get some science fiction oriented stuff that is quite trippy. It definitely gets very spacey and makes me think of some of the more electronic sounds Hawkwind has done. A voice talks a bit about hallucinogenics as the music seems to replicate the effects of them. Another voice talks and then echoes off. There is another sound bite later that feels like it comes from a science fiction movie.
This powers out of the previous number with a real techno, driving groove. It's quite electronic and also has some science fiction and space elements on display. Providing some variety, this is also tastefully strange and very cool. The swirling computerized voices on it are pretty trippy.
Electronic melodies bring this into being from the previous cut. At over ten minutes long, this is another epic piece. It rises up with a driving kind of EDM groove from as it continues. By the time it approaches the two minute mark it has turned into a driving prog jam. That quickly drops away, though. The next section has an almost hip hop meets the Middle-East vibe to it. It's both rhythmic and melodic. Further down the road as it drifts to trippier stuff we get all kinds of voices as sound bites. This is very science fiction oriented in terms of what they are saying, and some serious space textures emerge after they are gone. Trippy music takes over from there with a real electronic space rock texture at its heart. Early Pink Floyd is a valid reference point in some ways. It gradually begins to rise upward from there as it shifts toward a more traditional rock band approach. Still, it's in terms of instrumentation as this remains mellow and very Pink Floyd (psychedelic era) in style. We get another sound bite over the top before this rises up into more pure rocking fashion. I love the bass lines on it, and the keyboards over the top are cool, too. There are some almost jazzy Pink Floyd elements that emerge as the piece continues to grow. It gets pretty funky before it drops back. The cut essentially ends and a reggae styled groove joins to create the concept of the next track.
A reggae meets jazz and space rock sound that started at the end of the last number makes up the basis of this cool jam. This gets some sound bites and has some odd proggy shifts. The closing section is a sea of sound bites that echo around one another.
A rocking electronic texture starts this and makes me think of King Crimson in some ways. The track gets decidedly heavy as it drives onward. Yet electronics are built all over the outskirts of this thing, too. It's like stoner rock delivered by an electronic prog band. Computer voices join after a time and along with weird effects take control of this piece.
Trippy electronic elements emerge and drive this number as it starts and builds outward. This has some of the most melodic, mainstream rock textures of the whole album at its core at times. Weird sound bites and driving electronic sounds bring it outward from there as this drives forward. It works to more melodic electronic prog after that, and then shifts toward a more mainstream prog rock sound to continue beyond that point. As this works to more of a space rock jam with hints of both Hawkwind and Pink Floyd we get a sound bite from earlier on the disc on a return visit. After that ends around the seven minute mark some space textures take over before a new rocking element emerges. That doesn't stay around long, though, giving way to more space textures. Working through a few things, electronics hold the number until the end.

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./